Sunday, October 26, 2008

Chocolate Nut Shortbread with Stewed Apples

Enid Blyton needs no introduction. A prolific story teller for young and old readers.I still enjoy reading her,and am excitingly waiting for my daughter to grow up and jump into reading world especially Blyton's works.Actually most of my summer holidays were spent reading her and one of her best book is 'Naughtiest Girl in School Series'. The four book series tells you the story about young and short tempered Elizabeth Allen and how the spoilt girl adjusts to the life in a boarding school and grows up to become an accomplished human being.

The first book -'Naughtiest Girl in School' starts with a short tempered girl who is getting ready to go to supposedly wonderful Whyteleafe School and she is stubbornly determined to come back home.On reaching there she gets herself into trouble knowingly and sometimes unknowingly and we can see that she comes out grown up and sensible from each and every incident.Well,we can always say'its always like that,a hero/heroine will come out unscathed at the end',but when I was reading it for the first time,I was transported virtually to a residential school in English countryside -full of greenery,a castle for school,riding horses,vegetable garden,going for shopping with a friend to a town mall wearing my warm winter clothes etc.As for the food,it was the first time I came to know about currant flavour.I made my mother order currant icecream if not a currant cake like Elizabeth.

When I found that the BookClub members have chosen Naughtiest Girl for October,I was more than happy to be part of it.It is a book to be lived,devoured and felt and so is the food from the book.I wanted to make currant cake,but I could not find any.Currant in certain cases can be substituted with raisins,but not in a currant cake.So I have satisfied myself with a Chocolate Nut Shortbread(Elizabeth's tuck box had this) which I served along with stewed apples(idea from the same book)-for a warm delightful dessert.Well,shortbread can be had anytime,it is a cookie,but me being naughtiest came upon this :D

A Shortbread is a cookie made of one part sugar,two part butter and three part flour or oats.Oats are traditionally used though substituted by flour.Shortbread have a crumbly texture(butter/shortening inhibits the formation of gluten strand making it crumbly) and are called so beause of the high fat content(shortening).They are baked at low temperature to avoid too much browning.Mine had cocoa and melted chocolate,so it was brown,naturally.Also a shortbread can be shaped as a large circle,smaller individual circles/cookies or thick wedges or bars.

All Purpose Flour: 1-1/4 cup
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder: 2 tbsp
White Sugar: 1/4 cup + more for glazing
Salt:a pinch
Cold Unsalted Butter: 1 stick
Semisweet Chocolate chips: 1/4 cup OR 1 square baking chocolate
Walnuts: 1/4 cup finely chopped

In a bowl,add flour,cocoa powder,white sugar,salt and whisk well to blend evenly.Cut in slices of cold butter into this and pinch and fluff the butter in the mix so that the entire mix looks like moist sand.Finely chop walnuts or any other nuts you have and melt the chocolate chip.You can melt in a microwave or double boiler as per convenience and choice.Add the melted and a bit cooled chocolate and walnuts to the sand like dough and fold in.

Transfer the dough to a greased baking sheet and pat into a thick 1/4 or 1/8 inch circle.Also you can halve the dough,round each half into a smooth circle on separate baking sheets.Smoothen the edges of the circle with a spoon and also make impressions on top.(They will be lost unless they are firm/big)Sprinkle sugar on top and using a sharp knife cut the circle into even no: of wedges-first half,then quarters and then fourth like that.Leaves the wedges in place.

Bake on a preheated oven at 300F for exactly 1 hour.Cool for a few minutes.Cut the wedges apart and serve as per choice.

I served them for dessert along with stewed apples.Stewed apples is nothing but apples stewed in water,sugar and spices and is easy to make.

Apple: 1peeled,cored,chopped into small cubes
Butter: 1-2 tbsp
Brown sugar,Cinnamon,Nutmeg: as per taste

Melt butter in a pan and add brown sugar and little water and bring to boil.Add apple cubes and spices and cover and cook for a few minutes or until tender.I did not cook long as I wanted the apples to hold shape.So add water only as much as needed.Serve as such or as a side dish.

You can serve like this placing the warm apples atop the shortbread

Now let me see what other naughtiest girls(Simran,Bhags,Rachel,Dee,Aparna,Sunshine Mom,Siri,Srimathi) are upto.I will update post as each gal post her school food.Then we are all going to Wonderland with Alice entire November.If you want to join us in Wonderland do comment here or any other naughtiest girl post or especially the Head Girl Simran.

Simran and Aparna had also made shortbread :) - Great Minds and Naughtiest Girls Think alike;


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